The technology boundary: A strategy for bridging the gap.
ALT-C 2005, Manchester, UK, 6th - 8th September, 2005.
The aim of this demonstration is to promote discussion regarding strategies that enable teachers to concentrate upon the pedagogy of e-learning design, rather than how to cope with technology. The domains of academia and technology have traditionally been separated by a technology boundary that teachers have felt they are required to cross. But, many teachers also understandably feel that do not have the time or inclination to make the journey. Most importantly, the crucial issue of developing effective pedagogy can be lost when technology concerns dominate considerations of e-learning development.
There is an important role for specialist designers and developers when creating technically demanding materials. But, requiring most learning materials to be produced by specialist teams can create bottlenecks and dependencies. In fact, the production of many learning materials in accessible formats best suited to VLEs is something that all teaching staff can accomplish. The strategy at the University of the West of England, Bristol, (UWE) is that academic colleagues should not be required to “re-skill”, but to continue to use the Microsoft Office suite with which they are familiar. IT Services now provides a number of networked conversion services; for example to translate Office documents into html format, pdf format and html learning packages, together with a service that converts animated and narrated PowerPoint presentations into Flash format. The tools in question are predominantly generic business tools, not specific e-learning tools such as CourseGenieTM.
This demonstration will begin by discussing some of the characteristics of the technology boundary and the dominance this boundary can have in e-learning deliberations. It will then go on to describe the strategy at UWE and demonstrate its operation, and the use of some of the software tools. Participants will then be able to experiment with the module and the materials that constitute it.
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